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A review of the positive impact of a Self Administered Motivational Instrument (SAMI) on Deep and Strategic approaches to study and on academic attainment

By Tim Duffy and Russell Rimmer


This research concerns the wider context of behaviour change and approaches to study among students in higher education. Drawing on the counselling approach known as motivational interviewing, a Self Administered Motivational Instrument (SAMI) has been designed in which students take decisions about changing their approaches to study. Motivational interviewing has been demonstrated to positively influence a range of behaviours, including alcohol- and drug misuse and weight loss. The SAMI is paper-based and as the name suggests is self-administered.\ud Within the SAMI, students are asked to rate their academic performances if they continue to study as they are and if they change their study approaches. These questions were designed to stimulate ambivalence, if warranted, over current study approach. This is also engendered by asking students to complete the reliable, valid and relatively brief deep and strategic components of a shortened version of the RASI learning-style instrument (Duff, 1997). This shortened RASI is known as the DRASI. \ud The SAMI has been tested in a controlled study with 328 first, second and third year university students in Scotland, UK. In this paper the design of the SAMI and the controlled study are reported. The main conclusions are:\ud • When the SAMI is applied, approaches to study change. In particular, there was an on-average increase in strategic approaches to learning. Further, greater strategic scores among those who completed the SAMI, were associated with a greater likelihood of attaining the top two grades of A or B1. Thus, in line with applications of brief motivational interventions in other areas, there is evidence of effectiveness.\ud • A small to moderate effect size of 0.32 was noted for strategic scores within the intervention group. Teachers, students and policy makers might regard this as a reasonable return for a low cost, easily administered intervention.\ud Further research is required to assess if similar outcomes occur when the SAMI is applied in different academic environments, with or without support from academic staff, over longer periods and using different media, such as electronic delivery

Publisher: Institute of Education, University of London
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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